October 26, 2010

Statistical Spotlight

More news about: Christopher Newport | Delaware Valley | Lewis and Clark | North Central (Ill.) | Puget Sound
Adam Kniffin was Puget Sound quarterback Duncan White's favorite target by a significant margin and also threw a touchdown pass.
Puget Sound athletics photo

Each week during the regular season we look at some of the key statistical performances from the weekend in Division III football, highlighting one per region.

In addition to the 625 yards passing for Duncan White, in addition to the 16 first downs Lewis and Clark converted on first and second down, in addition to the fact that the Pioneers didn't punt until the fourth quarter, in addition to Adam Kniffin's 19 catches for 186 yards and five touchdowns (and his touchdown pass), ponder that it could have been worse. Lewis and Clark recorded nine tackles for loss on the day, six sacks, and forced three fumbles. The teams finished with a combined 1,218 yards of total offense in Lewis and Clark's 68-64 win.

Just don't call it a basketball score. Puget Sound only scored 64 or less once all season, in a 70-55 loss to eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point. The Loggers averaged 78 points per game last season, which even itself was a little low compared to their recent history.

Delaware Valley linebacker Kyle Gesswein keyed an Aggies defense that held Lycoming running back Josh Kleinfelter to 27 yards on 10 carries. He'd entered the game averaging 165.8 yards per contest. Gesswein had nine tackles, including a sack, broke up a pass and also scored on a blocked punt.

Kentel Noel shattered the USA South record for punt return yardage in a game when he exploded for 206 yards and two touchdowns on five punt returns against Greensboro. His first TD return was a highlight-reel run for 67 yards (check Play of the Week nominees later on Tuesday), in which he broke four tackles including two spins out of the opponent's grasp. The electric run from the rookie was followed up almost immediately (less than two minutes of game clock) by a 62-yarder on the very next Greensboro possession, down the opposite sideline. Noel nearly broke a third before finally getting tracked down on the 11-yard line after a 55-yard run where he again escaped the grasp of several defenders.

At the beginning of the season, there were some doubts as to how well Matt Wenger would perform after missing the 2009 season for North Central with an injury. But he has answered that question early and often this season. Wenger totaled a season-high 14 tackles (seven solo) despite missing a good part of the second quarter due to a shoulder stinger in a 30-7 victory over Illinois Wesleyan. He had a tackle for loss and also returned a fumble 21 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter.

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